Last July, NHL All-Stars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter each signed 13-year/$98 million contracts with the Minnesota Wild. The signings brought a lot of buzz and excitement to a Wild franchise that had not made the playoffs in four years and to that point, had only advanced past the first round once in their brief 11-year history.
Parise, in particular, really pumped up Wild fans, because he is a local Twin Cities native, whose father, J.P. Parise, played for the old Minnesota North Stars. The excitement level was so great, that about a month after Parise signed his contract, a large gathering of people turned out at a local Twin Cities Best Buy store to pose for photos with him, per this iFolloSports.com original story and video.
After all of the hype, during the summer of 2012, the Wild had what some would consider a fairly disappointing year, going 26-19-3 in the 48-game lockout shortened NHL campaign. The Wild finished eighth in the Western Conference, before losing in the first round to the Chicago Blackhawks (five games). Parise had 18 goals and 20 assists during the regular season.
Nearly a year after the big acquisitions, iFolloSports.com was on hand for Zach Parise's first autograph signing appearance, as a member of the Wild. His dad J.P. also signed next to him at the table.
The event took place at Fan HQ Sports Apparel And Collectables, in the Twin Cities suburb of Minnetonka, and was sponsored by Steiner Sports Memorabilia. There was a huge turnout, with both guys signing for two hours.